Sheffield workers struggling compared to previous generations

John Miskell, with his grandson Ben Miskell as a baby
John Miskell, with his grandson Ben Miskell as a baby

Sheffield workers are struggling in low paid or unstable jobs and have suffered the longest squeeze on pay since Victorian times.

Politicians of all parties have unanimously agreed to support the TUC’s Great Jobs Agenda, which calls on the Government and employers to create fairer jobs with a Living Wage and better terms and conditions.

Council Leader Julie Dore told a meeting of the full council that 3.5 million people could be in insecure work by the start of 2022 if current trends continue. This is a rise of 290,000 which is the equivalent of the entire working population of Sheffield.

Insecure work includes people working on zero-hours contracts, temporary and agency work and low-paid self-employment.

Coun Dore says people on zero-hours and short-hours contracts earn a third less per hour than the average worker. UK workers are, on average, £38 a week worse off than before the crash in 2008 which is the longest squeeze on pay since Victorian times

Park and Arbourthorne Councillor Ben Miskell says we are living in a very different job market to previous generations.

“Our world and workplaces are changing,” he said. “Back in 1931 my grandad, John Miskell started down Maltby Pit, prior to mechanisation in the early 1950s.

“It was a career that spanned his entire working life with a good pension, strong representation from his trade union, and most importantly, stability. The sort of stability that brings the dignity and sense of purpose that everyone should be entitled to.

“Over 80 years since my grandad entered the workplace, what a different world the youngsters growing up in Norfolk Park and Arbourthorne find themselves in. A world of zero-hours contracts, casualised and insecure work for the many. 

“It is clear that too many jobs aren’t great jobs. Worse still, too many people feel that great jobs aren’t achievable for them.”Councillors are backing the TUC which wants an increase of the National Minimum Wage to £10 as quickly as possible and a ban on the regular use of zero hours contracts and “bogus self-employment” that’s forced on workers.